Information on Boil Orders

From time to time, the Public Works Department must issue a boil order notice to residents and other water customers to ensure their health and safety.  Under almost all circumstances, these orders are localized to a specific area and just a precautionary measure following work on a water main.  However, in rare cases, a condition may arise which requires a larger boil order.  Below are some frequently asked questions regarding these boil orders for those customers who may be impacted:

1. What is a boil order?

A boil order is simply a notice that customers should boil their water being used for culinary or drinking purposes for five minutes prior to use in order to prevent possible exposure to some sort of contaminate.  In almost all cases, water can continued to be used for other purposes (such as bathing, washing clothes or gardening) without needing to boil the water.

2. Why is a boil order issued?

Boil orders can be issued for any number of reasons.  In Gurnee, the most common reason is that nearby work on a water main required that the water be temporarily shut down, which could allow for a contaminate to enter the pipe.  However, in an extraordinary event, a larger order may be issued if the Village's water system loses pressure or a contaminant is discovered that requires a boil order.  These are designed to give customers a precautionary notice about their water and the tools necessarily to continue to use water while being safe.

3. How is a boil order lifted?

Depending on the circumstances, specific steps must be taken.  In most cases, the Village must take water samples from the impacted area in for testing.  These tests can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours, but once samples pass, the boil order can be lifted.

4. How will customers be notified about a boil order?

For a localized or small-scale boil order, customers will most often be informed by personal contact from a Village employee or a door hanger left on their front door.  Should a wider area need to be notified, the Village will use all its means including the Village's website, Blackboard Connect, the e-mail listserv, social media and press releases to notify the impacted area.

5. How will customers be notified when a boil order is lifted?

Notification regarding when a boil order has been lifted will be done in the same manner as the original notification.  Typically, if the order is lifted during the nighttime hours, only door hangers and non-disruptive means of notification will be used.  Please note that, in most cases, you will receive notification about the order being lifted as soon as possible regardless of whether or not it is during regular work hours.

6. What should I do following a boil order?

Customers may want to flush their home's piping by letting a faucet flow for a few minutes.  However, in most cases, as the order was precautionary, no special actions need to be taken.  If additional steps are necessary, instructions will be issued with the notice to lift the order.

7. If I have further questions, who should I contact?

For generalized questions, please contact the Public Works Department at (847) 599-6800 Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  For questions regarding a specific boil order, contact Brett Fritzler, Utility Supervisor, at (847) 599-6853 during normal business hours or the police non-emergency line at (847) 599-7000 outside of regular hours.